What a weekend of MMA we have in store as the Ultimate Fighting Championship franchise brings us their eagerly anticipated UFC 239 show. The action comes from the world-famous T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be shown live on a range of TV stations. UK fans can follow the action live on BT Sport, with the main event expected around 5.00am. Here are our top Jon Jones v Thiago Santos betting tips.
A very late night indeed, or an early wake up call, depending on your plans, but this is a card that simply shouldn’t be missed. The line-up has the sport’s purists licking their lips and the main event ensures there will also be healthy interest from casual followers, looking for their fix. Bookmakers have done their bit to ensure you can enjoy a financial interest on the outcome.
Jones Will Get no Favours
The main event is filled by a bout that has had supporters excited since it was first announced. Jon Jones will finally take on Thiago Santos in a UFC light heavyweight championship decider. It’s the clash fans wanted to see and we’re delighted to say it’s the one they’ll finally get to enjoy. Jones is a two-time ruler of the division but will get no respect from his opponent when this one gets underway. We’re expecting fireworks from the very start, so make sure you are settled into your seat and have your bets on early.
The main event has everyone talking, but it’s not the only fight of the night, of course. There’s also Amanda Nunes v Holly Holm in the women’s bantamweight category, supported by Jorge Masvidal v Ben Askren at welterweight, Luke Rockhold v Jan Blachowicz at light heavyweight and the tussle involving Diego Sanchez v Michael Chiesa at welterweight. The main card is packed with what promises to be enjoyable fights.
There’s also a supporting undercard list that includes the likes of Gilbert Melendez, Randa Markos, Yadong Song and Jack Marshman. The preliminary card can be viewed on ESPN and the UFC’s Fight Pass stream, allowing the sport’s purists a catch up on the progress of some of the game’s most promising fighters.
Jones Looking to Salvage his Reputation
Champion Jon Jones puts his title and reputation on the line when facing Thiago Santos and we’re confident this one will live up to expectations and prove a thrilling clash. Bones has worn this crown twice before and looks to be a man who will take all the stopping second time out. He has tasted the glory that comes with realising a lifelong ambition of becoming world champion and he has also suffered the hurt of losing his prized possession. That sting would’ve made him a better fighter and a man more determined to hang on to what he’s got.
The 31-year-old from New York stands at an imposing 6ft 4inches tall and has a background fighting in wrestling, Gaidojutsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Fighting out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, he represents the Jackson Wink MMA Academy. Active since 2008, his CV shows 24 wins from 26 starts with 10 of those victories coming by knockout. The spare is made up of eight by decision and six submission. Jones has lost only once during his career, with the other being a no contest, the latter happening as recently as July 2017.
In a match with Daniel Cormier, Jones was originally awarded the win by a knockout as well as performance of the night, but that decision was overturned in disgrace when the fighter later failed a drugs test. The decision was made a no contest and Bones was stripped of his title, leaving his reputation in tatters. Many of his supporters stuck with him through the hard times but it’ll take a big effort of the fighter is to ever win back the trust of the masses. Keeping clean and winning major fights is the only way to achieve that.
Back on the Bike
The champion got back on the bike with an important win over Alexander Gustafsson on UFC 232, winning back his title that had become vacant. The method of victory that night was knockout, the result of a heavy-handed barrage of punches in California. It was a thoroughly impressive showing from Jones, but it was no real surprise to see he wasn’t awarded fight or performance of the night, given his recent history. He still had a lot of making up to do.
Bones was last seen beating Anthony Smith by decision on UFC 235 in Las Vegas to make another successful defence of his title in March of this year. The quick turnaround shows the champion and his team are desperate to make up for lost time and get back to making headlines for all the right reasons. He needed all five rounds to get the victory that night, but the winner was never in doubt and it was a show that saw Jon win despite being deducted two points in round four following an illegal use of the knee. The fact he won so comfortably despite that penalty proves the kind of form he was in that night. It’s never simple when Jones is involved, that’s for sure.
Bookmakers have him as favourite to defend his title again and he is odds-on across the board. Traders at Bet365 offer 2/11 and although that may seem a little tight, his form makes it a difficult call to argue against and we’re sure there will be plenty of attention on that one, especially from accumulator backers. If you are going to back Jon for the win, we suggest doing so at Bet365 as most of the competition offer closer to 1/8 on the same outcome. That’s quite a difference.
Santos has Won Eight of Nine
Thiago Santos faces the unenviable task of trying to stop a champion in a hurry, but the challenger will arrive in Sin City quietly confident he has what it takes to rock the division and cause an upset by claiming the light heavyweight championship. The experienced 35-year-old Brazilian has been active since 2010 and carved out a record reading 21 wins from 27 contests. No less than 15 of his victories have come by way of knockout, with five by decision and only one on points. Of the six losses on his card, three have been by KO, two by submission and one on points.
His CV tells us the longer this fight lasts the more chance Santos has of taking it to the judges and nicking a points win. He will be only too aware of the power coming out of the champion’s corner and will aim to avoid standing and trading until the later rounds. If Thiago can take this bout to the ground during the early exchanges, he’ll have half a chance. That’s easier said than done, of course. The challenger shoved himself into contention for a world title shot on the back of four wins on the bounce and eight in his last nine.
Impressive stuff, but it doesn’t seem to hold much weight with traders who are confident enough to offer Thiago as the big priced outsider, with William Hill trading 4/1. That’s quite a quote for a man who has a live chance, but we won’t be biting at the price. Jon Jones to win by knockout is our best bet at 3/4 with Unibet.